Bombshell Blonde Beer Butt Bird

Southern Star Brewing has been getting a lot of exposure in my recent blogs….good beer and great people so that is not a bad thing. I used Bombshell Blonde cans for a weekend meal – see photo below.

Bombshell Blonde cans sitting in my beer butt holders.

I could not bear wasting this great beer on the chickens, so I spent a leisurely afternoon enjoying the Blondes – BEERS! – and then split a yellow fizzy water brew between the two cans – added garlic powder, Lawry’s seasoning salt and cumin powder to each can – inserted the cans – and grilled with indirect M/H heat for about 80 minutes.

The results – two very moist, tender and tasty chickens. I had an Alaskan Amber as my bread with the meal and salad for my greens –

The chickens – done, tender, moist and oh so good. One was too tender – darn – and fell apart as I removed it!

I peeked at my Imperial Stout this morning and there is a nice krausen up about two inches inside the fermenter and the air lock is bubbling away. I placed my nose close to the air lock and the aroma is heavenly….Need to check the polling results to see how will I enhance the flavor in the secondary!

The vote so far – 50% coffee and 50% bourbon infused oak – help me out – go to the link for the “Brewing Day” post and express you opinion…it really does matter!



Busy Brewing Day

The day was much too busy and much of it was my own doing. The Imperial Stout was a partial mash effort so there was that element of an extra step in the process – not much in the way of work, just time, patience and monitoring. I had trotted off to the store a few hours earlier and my ambitious nature kicked in – I decided to buy a brisket to smoke while the beer was brewing. A perfect excuse for another beer while heating up the  backyard.

All was going smooth until transferring the mash liquor from the kettle to the boiling pot. The bottom of the bag holding the crushed grain busted open. I sent quite a bit of the spent grain over into the boiling pot. I tried fishing out the grains and realized(American spelling) that I was not going to recover mare than about 70% of the grain. Ok, now lets hunt for my wire sieve. I couldn’t find it last time I looked for it so why would I think it would be different this time? “Call a friend” – and yes she had the answer to the question. I enlisted the help of my 17-year-old son… him a start on a skill set that could make him a popular guy in college a few years down the road. (he has to wait until 21 to practice the trade)

I am a busy dude! Keep feeding the wood chips to the smoker, keep an eye on the brew pot, watch the timer for the hops additions, be ready to stir down the potential boil over when adding the hops and keep adding chips to the smoker….oh yes, try a new craft beer! I bought this new one more as a test for my wife. It is called Citra Blonde from Widmer Brothers in Portland Oregon. She did like it and I was pleasantly surprised!  I recently fell in love, a beer this time, with another Widmer beer, Rotator IPA – an ongoing changing recipe. Great concept! A bit like the Yazoo Brewery’s Hop Project!

Beer | Widmer Brothers Brewing  Take a look – first class website and a great overview of how to brew!

It was well after my planned finish time before I pulled the brisket, cooled the beer & pitched the yeast, cleaned the pots, sequestered the fermenter in a cool dark spot and sat down for a brief respite. this looks to be a stout stout….starting gravity of 1.093! I sampled the sweet wort after checking the gravity and the flavors a very interesting even at this early stage of the process. Aroma is nice – if it mellows/matures as I expect, it should be an awesome beer. I am still deciding what to do after transferring to the secondary……coffee – maybe, oak – that is a possibility and maybe oak that has been soaked in a decent bourbon, chocolate – hmmmm maybe not. I have 8 or 10 days to decide. Maybe I run a poll!

Poll Daddy Poll

Sitting back in the shade on the patio – the beer is boiling, the brisket is smoking and a cold beer in my hand.

The brisket – smoked for 7 hours. The thick end was cut off, wrapped tight in foil smothered with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and 10 hours in the oven at 200 F.

That dark crust, enhanced with oak chipped from Jack Daniels bourbon barrels – the bourbon flavor/aroma was not noticeable in the meat but the smoke off of the smoker was pretty yummy! The brisket just fell apart….



My IPA is Tapped

My American IPA is tapped and in the fridge.
I put this batch in 6L mini kegs dispensed with 16 gram CO2 cartridges. The dispenser has a lock on it to prevent accidental discharge. Why am I telling you about the lock…..more of a reminder for me. The last time I used the mini kegs I tapped the first one….a 5 gallon batch fills three of the mini kegs. – Well – I needed to sample the beer just because. I pulled a short glass off of the keg about 9:45 one evening, pushed the lever back to the closed position but, this is the sad part, it was very, very close to being totally closed. It was March 11th, the evening before my birthday and off to bed I went.

My son comes home from a date and at 11:30 or so goes to get something to drink from the fridge. There is beer all over the floor. The tap emitted a fine spray of beer inside the fridge, emptying 6 L of lovingly handcrafted beer all over. I told this story once before on this blog and if you remember – I have a loving and wonderful wife…..due to the proximity of the evening to my Birthday she let me sleep as she cleaned up the mess. I am still in her debt and may be for another 30 years.

By the way…this IPA is very nice – it is a kit beer but they can be very good! This one from Williams Brewing, an American IPA is top-notch as a kit beer.

Here is my Tap-A-Draft set-up in the fridge with the red lock set!

Beer in hte fridge…..tap lever in locked position! iPone photo




Imperial Stout – My Next Homebrew

Fire up the pot and let’s brew something. There was a sad day this summer of 2012! The last two bottles of my Imperial Stout that I lovingly brewed in December of 2012 was consumed….oh it was so good and I was able to share the heavenly experience with my son-in-law. Tayna does not normally drink stouts, but unless he was lying to me…and he knows better than to do that, he complimented me on this beer. It aged incredibly well.

The original batch was an all extract kit from Williams Brewing in California. The kit came with oak chips to add in the secondary and the final product was awesome… took a few, but once it got to that right age….about six months from brew date, it was very drinkable. I was going to order the same kit but decided to buy local. I have been encouraging readers to drink local beers so why not brew with ingredients from the local folks.

I went down to “Backyard Home Brewers Education Center” in downtown Humble yesterday and with the helpful folks there, searched for and found a good-looking partial extract recipe for an Imperial Stout. Now here is another plus of this local store…..cost difference. The Williams Brewing kit would have set me back about $46.00 plus shipping, here, the grain, extract, hops and yeast total cost was a bit over $26.00. I saved some money and got to build my own recipe! Oh yes, they had an Oatmeal Stout on tap in the store that was very tasty. Tomorrow, Saturday, they are having an all grain education brewing class…I wish I could make it but I am off to watch my youngest play soccer.

I will keep all y’all posted on the progress of this batch. I think I will saturate my oak additions in a good bourbon before adding them to the secondary. Yum! Check out the store and education opportunities if you live in the area.

A glass of my old stout, so dense that no light can penetrate its murky and tasty depths!

A glass of the previous batch…..just a wee bit heavy and oh so good!

Recipe will be posted soon.



Billings Montana? Ok, Twist My Arm, I’ll Go

I have been asked to deliver one of my training sessions in Billings, Montana for a small energy producer. I have been doing a little work for them over the past few months. Sessions in Midland, TX, Houston, TX, Laredo, TX and Williston North Dakota.

Midland – beer offerings are ordinary and lack variety for craft beers lovers.

Houston – Making its mark with some excellent local choices and establishments. I am working on trying them all – Karbach, St Arnolds and Southern Star are top notch. No Label Brewing in Katy is on my bucket list, as is Bayou Brewing….

Laredo…sorry my research is coming up empty.

Williston – pubs maybe

Billings Montana – Jackpot !!!!!! 8 craft breweries in the city limits and 10 in the greater Billings area…. Three days is only going to whet the appetite – I will provide a report out sometime around the 7th or 8th of September….maybe some updates via iPhone posts…. I do have to real work to do  – kinda….I have a trout fishing float trip scheduled for the 5th and the class is on the 6th. I will behave appropriately!

There are 4 beer brewers within walking distance of my hotel and Angry Hanks looks like a short cab ride away…. Most will offer tasters…those little 5 oz glasses……an easier way to taste a broad suite of beers….. it used to be that 5 pints wasn’t much effort but I would like  not be swayed by that 5th pint….The truth and only the unbiased/unhazed truth.

A little research brought up this photo…..looks like people I can relate to !!!! Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. Staff.

Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. – Head Brewer Ryan Koga, Room Manager Donnie Veltri, and Manager/Brewer George Moncure

I apologize if I am using your photo  without permission… were just such a handsome bunch that I could not resist.



Just a thought – old stories, mountain bikes, blood, beer and essentially flat trails……a birdie dropped a little something in my inbox today and the stories, to the best of my recollection, may find a forum here……beer and blood in the early mornings…could be fun. Thanks Pat.


Missed Beer Opportunity

It wasn’t quite the end of the world – it was a matter of electronic communications and proper behavior on my part. I rolled off to Bass Pro Shop Sunday afternoon for a manly man shopping day. When I arrived I looked at my iPhone and saw that I had an email from a Kingwood buddy and an awesome homebrewer and he was in need of some help.

My Mailbox indicated a 3:25 PM message that I did not get a chance to respond to until I was stopped in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot – Pearland, TX. Note for Mike….it said that you sent the message on Wednesday May 7th 2003 at 9:25 pm – I think something is amiss with your mail account. Message sent to me and good friend John.

“Sent: Wed 5/7/2003 9:25 PM

Just got thru putzin around the garage an figured itz time for a beer.  If you guys can get away, I need help finishing off the Bock so I can fridge my Pilz before the summer is over.Come on by for a brew or 2.”

I replied that I was in Pearland and would be happy to help with the inventory problem….I am good at reducing beer inventories!

I was able to swing by his house at 5:20 PM but alas….no answer to my thirsty knock.

Plan B – I saw a tweet that Flying Saucer had Southern Star’s ProAm 2012 in stock. This is a Double IPA that I sampled a few weeks ago at their brewery tour. It is an awesome beer. The local HEB typically has Southern Star offerings so I swung by…if I can’t get one of Mike’s homebrews I will seek out an acceptable alternative.

I struck out again but there was still an out left before retiring the side….I wandered the aisle and found – a six-pack of Alaskan Amber. Ok I am on base now, made my purchase and headed home where 3 thick T-bone steaks were seasoned and ready to throw on the grill. Photos via iPhone.

The Alaskan Amber fulfilling the role of grill-mate, a job well suited for this Alaskan offering.

Three Tbones – mine closest to the front with lots of coarse ground black pepper! Garlic French bread lingering in the far corner.

Salad with spicy ranch dressing joined the meal and finished off with a Lazy Magnolia Pecan Brown Ale. Shared the meal with my wife – she just cut the tender part out of the T-bone and told – no – asked me to keep my hands off of the remainder…she loves cold steak! I poured her a Bombshell Blonde from Southern Star – life really is good!

Mike – I am always willing to help reduce inventory….please invite me again…




Sharing With a Fishing Buddy – A reblog

I am sitting in my kayak about 400 yds offshore, big rollers sweeping by, sharing the morning with my oldest son……….Ben

Saturday August 11th my son Ben and I loaded up and headed down to the Galveston area for a day of fishing. Fishing wasn’t so good and we had quite an adventure “trying” to navigate the much heavier than usual surf getting back in.  Ben shot this photo in the early morning light….he caught the mood of the day – kind of solitary but shared with a fishing buddy and in this case, someone I love and care for.  We don’t normally have lots of conversation….he and I are sometimes pretty quiet. We share a lot quietly. He is back to school at LSU and we will quietly remember this day spent together. The photo perfectly captures my heart and emotiuons…Thanks Ben

On Sunday Ben drove me out to the airport to drop me off. He did more than drop me off though… he walked around to my side of the truck gave me a big hug, it didn’t need words… I felt the love. Thanks again Ben….. I love you too!